Articles Posted in Injuries to Minors

Childhood injuries are a fact of life – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t preventable or that those who caused them can’t be held accountable.child personal injury lawyer Palm Beach

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a child in America is treated for an injury in an emergency department every 4 seconds. Per the National Safety Council, unintentional child injury deaths among is somewhere around 9,000 each year. Hundreds of thousands of kids suffer non-fatal injuries. Car accidents, gunshots, bicycle accidents, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires, and falls are among the leading causes.

When these injuries are the result of someone else’s carelessness on the road, a dangerous toy, hazardous property conditions, medical mistakes, or lack of property supervision/security/safe hiring practices, etc. – your child may have a viable Palm Beach personal injury claim for monetary damages. However, while it’s your child who is hurt and suffering, they aren’t going to be the one who pays the medical bills, hires the attorney, accepts/rejects insurance payout offers, files the lawsuit, etc. It will be you as the parent or guardian.

In fact, this is required by law. According to F.S. 744.301, the child’s “natural guardians” (i.e., “parents”) are the ones who should file an action to recover damages for the child’s injury if they are under the age of 18 (unless they are legally emancipated or parental rights have been terminated). Alternatively, the court has the authority to appoint someone else other than the parents to bring the claim on behalf of the child. That usually only happens under narrow circumstances, like when the court determines it’s not in the child’s best interests to allow the parents to act on their behalf. Continue reading

With more children and families sticking closer to home this summer, the risk of a Palm Beach bicycle accident resulting in severe injuries is higher than ever. Safe Kids Palm Beach County reports that traumatic injuries suffered by children in Palm Beach County bicycle accidents has shot up nearly 170 percent in recent months. Eight kids were treated locally for serious bike crash injuries in just five weeks.Palm Beach injury lawyer

The non-profit kids’ safety organization indicated most of the bicycle accidents involved collisions with cars. More than 90 percent of riders treated at local hospitals weren’t wearing helmets and suffered some type of brain injury.

“Kids think they’re invincible,” the SKPBC director told WPTV recently.

That may be true, but our Palm Beach County injury attorneys want to stress it doesn’t give a free pass to drivers who are distracted, speeding or otherwise careless – particularly in residential neighborhoods where one would expect to see more children on bicycles right now. The failure of a child to wear a helmet won’t excuse a negligent motorist from liability either. Continue reading

A 10-year-old boy suffered a serious brain injury, punctured lung and broken ribs after falling off a zipline attraction at a Florida trampoline park. The Tampa Bay Times reported at least three park employees failed to check the child’s harness before the start of the ride. When the boy lost his grip on the front ropes, he plummeted some 25 feet onto a concrete surface. He had to be airlifted to Tampa General Hospital, spending five days undergoing numerous surgeries.Florida liability waiver

Now, the boy’s mother is suing the trampoline park and the former employees who were responsible for overseeing the ride from which her son fell. The boy’s mother said she had an expectation her son would be reasonably safe because employees would do their jobs.

This trampoline park, like many hundreds of others that exist throughout the state, requires patrons (or parents of minor patrons) to sign a waiver of liability agreeing not to sue the business if they are hurt. Furthermore, safety warnings are posted on the company’s website, with one notice in bold lettering indicating that “Trampolining is an action/extreme sport and is an inherently dangerous risk. Jump at your own risk and within your own ability.”

Will this be enough to protect the company from liability in a case like this? Continue reading

The widow of a man shot and killed by a stranger over a parking spot in front of her eyes in Clearwater recently told a local news agency that in addition to showing up to every criminal court appearance of the alleged gunman, she planned to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her – and the child she is expecting. Miami wrongful death attorney

The right to claim wrongful death damages following the death of a parent due to negligence or intentional misconduct is well-established – both in a 1988 Florida law, F.S. 768.0415, as well as the 1990 Florida 5th District Court of Appeal ruling in Ellis v. Humana of Fla., Inc..

There was already precedent prior to that in the 1942 Florida Supreme Court decision of C.F. Wheeler Co. v. Pullins., which stated a child could collect workers’ compensation death benefits for a parent killed prior to the baby’s birth – the primary caveat being  whether  the child was born. Continue reading

Florida civil lawsuits don’t die just because a defendant does.

This question has been raised repeatedly in recent days following the death of billionaire Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein, suspected of being the central figure in a longtime child sex trafficking ring. He was convicted of solicitation several years ago, received (by all accounts) a “sweetheart deal” from a federal prosecutor who went on to become U.S. Labor Secretary (since resigned) and was facing new criminal charges in New York. He died several weeks ago of an apparent suicide while in custody awaiting trial on the newest charges.injury lawyer

The 66-year-old’s death means that the criminal case against him personally has been dismissed. It does not, however, mean the end of sexual abuse civil lawsuits pending against him by his alleged victims. Most were minors at the time they were allegedly lured into a human trafficking operation that involved the extremely wealthy and powerful.

Now, Epstein’s $580 million estate and its executors have been named defendants in a growing number of civil cases filed by his accusers. Those cases are not closed just because Epstein is dead. Continue reading

A personal injury lawsuit filed by 15 high school students, survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has been dismissed by a federal judge who ruled six defendants, including the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, a school deputy, a campus monitor and the Broward School District, owed no duty of care to protect the students from the gunman. Nothing in the state constitution or statute imposes a general duty on police officers or other government officials to protect people from harm – even when they know it will occur. This duty is limited to those who are “in custody” of police, which as our Broward County injury lawyers can explain has been narrowly interpreted by courts to mean those situations wherein a person has lost his/ her freedom to move freely or seek assistance on their own. It doesn’t apply to students in school, particularly the older they are. personal injury attorney

In total, 17 students and staff members were killed in the six-minute attack and 17 others were injured.

The outcome was indeed disappointing for many in Parkland and throughout Florida because it undercuts a core belief so many have about police and school services: That the public – especially schoolchildren – have the right to expect police will protect them. That is simply not true. The few exceptions that have been carved out, as noted by legal scholars quoted in The New York Times, are situations where, for instance, a crossing guard is assigned specifically to protect a child from crossing the street and instead gets distracted by their smartphone. In the eyes of the law, that crossing guard may have a special relationship to that specific child. It’s only when this special relationship has been established or when the officer has done something to enhance the risk of harm that the officer and/ or the employer can be held liable under the state’s negligence laws. Continue reading

The mother of a 12-year-old girl who was allegedly bullied by other students at Ramblewood Middle School has filed a Coral Springs personal injury lawsuit on her daughter’s behalf against the Broward County School District. Randi Vanderheyden claims that school officials not only failed to give the adolescent a safe school environment but also, faculty did not take action to stop young Breann from being bullied.

Breann contends that she was verbally abused, targeted with racial slurs, and physically assaulted for months. Her mom complained to the Broward County school superintended but, rather than help the girl, Vanderheyden says the principal blamed her daughter. Breann says that she attempted to kill herself because she couldn’t stand being bullied. Her mother found her in time and took her to a hospital.

The Broward County personal injury complaint claims that Breann suffered as a result of the hate crimes, discrimination, harassment, and bullying. She is now in therapy and continuing her studies through the Internet.

The family of Juan Carlos Rivera has settled their Coral Gables wrongful death lawsuit with the Miami-Dade School Board. A fellow student fatally stabbed Rivera in 2009.

Rivera and another student, Andy Rodriguez, reportedly bumped elbows and that was when the two Coral Gables Senior High students got into a fistfight. Rodriguez then stabbed Rivera numerous times, including one jab to the heart. According to prosecutors, the brawl was over a girl.

Rivera’s family had accused the high school of negligence, including poor supervision, inadequate security, and failing to properly determine which students were troubled. Meantime, Rodriguez has been found guilty of second-degree murder with a weapon. He will be sentenced later this month.

Our Miami personal injury lawyers represent children and adults in South Florida seeking to recover damages for injuries they sustained as a result of sexual abuse. We know how devastating injuries from sexual assault and molestation can be for the victims, and we are sensitive to our clients’ situations while doing our best to obtain financial recovery.

Occasionally, on our South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog site, we report on related stories occurring outside the state. One headline that has been making national papers is the allegations against ex-Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The 67-year-old has been indicted on 40 criminal counts for allegedly sexually abusing a number of boys over a 15-year period.

After retiring from the college in 2009, Sandusky continued to use the school’s facilities to work with at-risk kids, some of whom he allegedly molested and sexually assaulted. The child sex abuse incidents occurred over a 15-year-period.

A girl who claims she was molested by Fort Pierce Westwood High School teacher Charles Edward Johnson Sr. is suing him and the St. Lucie County School District for Florida personal injury. The plaintiff contends that Johnson sexually abused her on a number of occasions between January and May 2008 while he was her math teacher.

Johnson was arrested in 2008 on a single count of misdemeanor battery and two felony counts of lascivious/lewd molestation because of complaints made by the plaintiff and another female student. Later that year, Johnson pleaded no contest to three counts of misdemeanor battery. His sentence was the 142 days he had already spent behind bars and over two years probation. Even now, Johnson, who pleaded no contest to the criminal charges, maintains that he is innocent and did not commit the allegations alleged in the St. Lucie County injury lawsuit.

In her St. Lucie County sex abuse lawsuit, the plaintiff is holding the school board “vicariously liable” for the abuse on the grounds that administrators knew or should have known that Johnson was molesting students.

Sex Abuse

Sex abuse can lead to serious emotional and psychological injuries that can impair the victim for life. In Florida, you may file a civil claim over sex abuse within:

• Four years of discovering the injury or the causal link between the abuse and the injury. This is beneficial to those who may have repressed their memories of the abuse and were unable to remember what happened until years after the incident.
• Four years after you are no longer dependent on the abuser.
• Seven years after the age of majority and before you turn 25.

St. Lucie School District, former Fort Pierce teacher sued for alleged molestation, TC Palm, September 26, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Child sex abuse, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

More Blog Posts:

Mother Files Miami-Dade County Lawsuit Against Opa-Locka Police After Her Mentally Disabled Son’s Alleged Rape, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, May 31, 2011
Man Files Miami-Dade Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Naming Catholic Nun as His Abuser, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, April 15, 2011
Coral Springs, Florida Injury Lawsuit Accuses Music Teacher of Molesting Student, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 5, 2010 Continue reading

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